When drawing a spider, it helps to know something about the subject matter.  Spiders are arachnids. They have eight legs, four legs on each side.  Their bodies consist of  two main parts: the abdomen (which is egg shaped), and the cephalothorax which consists of the spider's head and sternum.

A spider's legs are divided into five tube-like structures.  It has eight spherical eyes arranged around its head and tube-like structures hanging out of its mouth called the maxilla.  Its mandibles and claws connect to the maxilla which are all part of the cephalothroax.

A spider's anatomy can become very complicated very fast.  All we need is enough visual information to begin drawing the spider.  Go to a library or a book store and find some good photo references.  If you have a high speed internet, you may be able to find some high resolution photos of spiders on the internet.  Take some time to identify the basic shapes.  Identify the tube and sphere shapes; study the proportions and placement of a spider's geometry.  The reason I do this is because I want for my drawing to be convincing.  When looking at the spider, I want my audience to have the feelings associated with every spider they have ever seen, only magnified. 


STEP 1. Draw the egg-shaped abdomen with a number 2 pencil.  Apply light pressure, so you can erase if you make a mistake.  Don't shade it yet. We want to draw in all the basic shapes first. 

Then draw a sphere-shaped cephalothroax.  The spider's eyes and maxilla extend out from the cephalothorax.  Its two front appendages are called pedipalps and they also extend out from the cephalothorax too. The pedipalps help the spider eat food and in males, they are used for mating and picking up vibrations, scents, sounds and air currents.

Look at the image above.  Study the tube-like segments where the spider's pedipalps  connect to one another.  Follow along with the step by step process for drawing the pedipalps.  Notice how each segment is smaller than the next, like a collapsing telescope.  To make the spider's hairs, apply a little downward pressure on your pencil and allow it to slip away in an outward direction.  The goal is to start out each hair with a thick line weight, and tapper off to a thin line weight.  Line weight refers to the thickness of your lines. 

STEP: 2
Now we are going to draw the other legs of the spider that extend from the Cephalothorax, in five segments.  We only see four, because the first one that is closest to its body is tucked under itself.  Remember to use light pressure when beginning the legs.  First, draw lines, like you would for a stick figure to get the placement of each leg right.  Notice the distance and the angles between each segment of the legs. 



You can see my process in the drawing above.  The front legs need to reach out ahead of the spider's head. The legs extend outward like the bony hands of human skeleton.  It's hind legs point directly in back of its abdomen.  Now you're ready to render (shade and color). 

When you draw the pattern on the spider's abdomen, make the pattern wrap around the egg shape.  This will make your spider look like it's occupying three-dimensional space.  It will be in perspective.  You can see in my drawing above the way I visualize a spider's egg shape abdomen, and how I go about graphing the pattern to the shape of the spider's abdomen.  To color my spider drawing,  I used color pencils.  It's up to you to decide what colors you want to use if you want to use color at all. I blended yellow, tan, brown and maroon together for most of my spider.  I used turquoise to show the reflected light off of the spider's eyes and Maxilla.  I used black to darken the shaded areas, and white to highlight the light areas, and to smooth over any unwanted pencil strokes that color pencils have a tendency to leave behind.  You might like the way the pencil strokes look, and if that's the case you should leave them.  I think that a good artist always goes with his or her instincts.  I thought about keeping them, but decided that rubbing them out with the white pencil would give the spider a feeling of movement.  The only thing that is scarier than a spider on the move is a jumping spider.




Thank you for reading this tutorial.  Remember, drawing takes practice.  If your spider drawing doesn't look at all the way you hoped it would, don't give up.  Take a break.  Go to a zoo, or someplace where you can watch spiders.  It's important not to get frustrated.  Don't ever try to draw something specific when you are upset.  It's better to go out for a walk.  Maybe get some ice cream or some frozen yogurt.  Then, when you're happy and in the right frame of mind try drawing the spider again.  Another thing that will help your drawing is if you carry a sketch book where ever you go.  Draw when you're waiting for a table at a restaurant, at the bus stop, or at the park.  Try to dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to drawing.  You don't have to draw anything specific at first.  If you are a beginner, just draw circles.  Try to make variations of circles that are oval, elliptical or peanut-shaped. 

In my next drawing tutorial I will be showing you how to draw in 3D.  I will show you the step by step process for drawing in three point perspective. 

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.
I'm Stan Levine.
Peace be with you!

If you have a request for something you would like to learn how to draw, feel free to comment below and let me know what it is you want to draw! Bookmark and Share